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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Thought perhaps this would be an appropriate place to post after reading a couple of similar post on losing a sale. Anyhow I have a story and a couple of questions for you. Feedback is well appreciated. Was refered by realtor of a couple who just purchased home, needing a fence (4ft high) approx 175ft in rear yard. Contacted homeowners and set initial appointment. Showed up, discussed options, gathered information and ideas. She stated they got and estimate from Home Depot, too high and timing was bad. Informed her I would work up the estimate and give her a call back. (this was a saturday). After several attempt to contact him and her, I finally reached her the following Monday. Gave her my price $2650 - of that approx $1200 in material. She said it was much lower than the other and asked when we could start, how much down ect. Informed her we could start immediately, and were flex with dwn pymt. She said great, would talk to her husband. Gave her a couple of days, called back to follow up. Lft msg, no return call. Called back next day, reached her, and suggested what ever her decision, would want to look into calling utilities to mark underground lines. She thanked me, said she would check and I offered to call for her as well. She responded appreciatively. Few days later after scheduling marking of lines, get e-mail confermation all lines marked and clear, except two. Call utility back to reschedule the two. Meanwhile, I have a missed call from husband, attempt to call, no answer, so I leave a message. I then call the wife, she says well I have no idea why he called you, I haven't talked to him about your est, its been hit and miss with his work (works out of state- home on weekends). I'm like, ok, (thinking somethings definately not right here.) Rep from utility calls within a few minutes of rescheduling, says HO refused to let her on property, stating lines have already been marked. Rep informed her he was there to mark lines at request of me - and she states I don't even know who he is? Rep informes me that the fence is already being installed. Hmmm, so that would prob explain why no return calls.. So my question is, anyone ever thought about mailing a survey, somewhat like and exit survey from employer, to find out what they didn't like about you, what they did like, why they chose someone else? In hopes you maybe able to take that information (providing they are honest) to better yourself, I'm sure if its because of price, we all know what we need to make on a job (tried to figure labor @ $7/ft - materials overestimated a little for inferior product - but credit for material would come off price of fence) My point is, I wont engage in bidding wars, do the job for nothing....and resent it the duration of the job. But still left wondering where I went wrong? Thanks.
 

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Sean
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First - if you talk like you write, that can be an issue

Pause - take a breath & listen (here please use the enter key & create mini paragraphs)

You might not have lost the job because you were not the cheapest, you may have lost the job because they considered you a hack - low price, immediate start date

The utilities should have been mentioned in your scope, after I receive the deposit - we will call dig safe & three days later we should be able to start your job

Many people have the customers evaluate their services / even just the estimate & sales part - the form is generally given to them before you leave (If you don't mind - please fill out this card at your convenience after you have made your decision. This will helps us better serve you & future customers) The nice thing is if it has a question on did you hire us or someone else & why, they may not call you to say "Sorry but...", hopefully they will mail it saying "Sorry" and you know that it is time to move on
 

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You will never really know-----

Sales are a success or failure based more on the customers confidence in the contractor than price.

It appears that you dealt with the wife,she had confidence in you but she was not the "boss".

He may well have looked at the different bids-and rejected yours as to cheap. You have heard many times,"don't go with the cheapest bidder,you get what you pay for."

I always try to be at the high end of the middle.:laughing:

Being the cheapest guy scares off the successful (and wealthy)customer,They are smart enough to understand that high quality workmanship is not going to come from the cheapest bidder.




There are so many other things that can sink a sale-Hubby and wife may hate each other-hubby automatically votes against wife to embarrass her.

God only knows,DO NOT bother a customer asking why a sale fell through,
It's business -You will look like a fool and kill any possibility of future work or referrals.

REFERRALS FROM A MISSED SALE?? Oh.yea.
"oh'Sally Sue,I sure wished we had used Bills Fence Company,but my stupid husband insisted we use some one else,Idiot. When we do the rest of the ranch it going to be Bills Fence.

Good luck ,I know it a personal blow to lose a sale you thought was "In the bag" All you can do is learn from it.
 

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Thom
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A good salesman sells his company first, the specific job second, and himself third. If you're trying to sell price, you've already missed the boat.

A referral from a "Cheap" job will always be a "Cheap" referral. You will only be able to sell if the customer values "Cheap" over quality.

You've got to find a way to sell a higher quality product for more money if you are going to be successful. Generally, a good salesman will up-sell by adding 50% to the price for every 20% increase in cost, and he will never actually sell his "Cheap" product.
 

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This is what is known as a one legged sale.This is the reason you don't want to give an estimate to one person.
The other thing is, you must give the price in person with both parties present, otherwise you are wasting time.

You must learn to sell, your company, the job and the price.
One thing I would do, is to price your jobs about 10% less than HD or Lowes. This will help you make more money and make it seem to the customer that you are in the same class as them.
Remember, a customer will automatically assume, right or wrong, that they are the best at doing things.
As we know, that depends solely on their subcontractor.

Remember, no one legged sales calls!!!:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks to all for your feedback! SLSTech - Sorry, tried stating so much w/out writing a book. All of what was said makes so much sense. I did fail to sell the company vs. the service first. They seemed like they were in such a hurry to have job comlpeted, not to mention they are not planning on living there for long as she is undergoing treatment for illness, and planning on moving back up north, so they wanted something suitable to contain their pet, while not trying to spend a fortune.


I don't know, but sometimes I felt like they had so much going on, may be I came across as to persistant/aggressive with the follow up calls and scheduling the utility locating for them.

As far as price, I gather some of you think my price was low, as I tried to base on Lowes install price, but I didn't mark up materials. I had a difficult time figuring my price as I thought that was a bit high??
 

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Roofing sales pro
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Thought perhaps this would be an appropriate place to post after reading a couple of similar post on losing a sale. Anyhow I have a story and a couple of questions for you. Feedback is well appreciated. Was refered by realtor of a couple who just purchased home, needing a fence (4ft high) approx 175ft in rear yard. Contacted homeowners and set initial appointment. Showed up, discussed options, gathered information and ideas. She stated they got and estimate from Home Depot, too high and timing was bad. Informed her I would work up the estimate and give her a call back. (this was a saturday). After several attempt to contact him and her, I finally reached her the following Monday. Gave her my price $2650 - of that approx $1200 in material. She said it was much lower than the other and asked when we could start, how much down ect. Informed her we could start immediately, and were flex with dwn pymt. She said great, would talk to her husband. Gave her a couple of days, called back to follow up. Lft msg, no return call. Called back next day, reached her, and suggested what ever her decision, would want to look into calling utilities to mark underground lines. She thanked me, said she would check and I offered to call for her as well. She responded appreciatively. Few days later after scheduling marking of lines, get e-mail confermation all lines marked and clear, except two. Call utility back to reschedule the two. Meanwhile, I have a missed call from husband, attempt to call, no answer, so I leave a message. I then call the wife, she says well I have no idea why he called you, I haven't talked to him about your est, its been hit and miss with his work (works out of state- home on weekends). I'm like, ok, (thinking somethings definately not right here.) Rep from utility calls within a few minutes of rescheduling, says HO refused to let her on property, stating lines have already been marked. Rep informed her he was there to mark lines at request of me - and she states I don't even know who he is? Rep informes me that the fence is already being installed. Hmmm, so that would prob explain why no return calls.. So my question is, anyone ever thought about mailing a survey, somewhat like and exit survey from employer, to find out what they didn't like about you, what they did like, why they chose someone else? In hopes you maybe able to take that information (providing they are honest) to better yourself, I'm sure if its because of price, we all know what we need to make on a job (tried to figure labor @ $7/ft - materials overestimated a little for inferior product - but credit for material would come off price of fence) My point is, I wont engage in bidding wars, do the job for nothing....and resent it the duration of the job. But still left wondering where I went wrong? Thanks.
Well your first mistake is not knowing you numbers. Second having both homeowners there fix some of that. doing the quote on site give you the chance on your side. 1 you have the ability to close right then in there unless you were the first guy threw the door. Doing some research on the customer doing prequalifing helps tons then you know what your uo agains right off the bat.
 

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The other posts hit the nail on the head. However, I just want to add that it would not make sense for you to do a follow up on what a customer thought about you if they did not sign with you. I have had customers tell me that they found a better price, they liked a different product better but I don't ask them what they thought I could have done better. I also pick a time to meet with both decision makers although usually it always just seems to be the wife. I am also able to print up estimates right from the truck so being able to do that does benefit me and sort of helps them understand why I am usually between the highest guy and the middle guy.

Like GTP said, you have to know your price. Only you know what you want to make personally after all the other taxes and insurance items are taken out.

SLS also has a good point about being able to do it right away and the cheapest price. I suggest even if you are not busy ask them when they would like the project to be started and tell them that maybe you will be able to move around your schedule to accompany them if you already have something else planned.

People/Homeowners are confusing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Very usefull information!! I am glad I posted. Since reading your responses, I have included in my business software a materials database containing more than the commonly used materials with pricing, so from here forward, I am quickly able to estimate and print on the spot. In addition, I have downloaded reference material/guides for estimating - calculating ect. for those "not so" typical type jobs - making the pricing portion of the job easier to figure out. As I mentioned earlier, I don't typically mark up cost, (and I know its lost profit - to some degree- its my time for picking up materials, gas ect.) So any suggestions on %, what do you typically mark you material up?

Thanks again to all who took the time to share their thoughts!
 

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Nest Home Improvement
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Sales is very much a numbers game. The more prospects you have, means the more sales calls you go on, and ultimately the more sales you will close.

Each sale is a chance to learn what you did right and what you didn't do right. The only thing you can control is yourself and what you do in future sales. Try and learn from each sale or lost sale.
 

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Everyone made some good points.

My take is:

1. You didn't have both decision makers present when you gave your pricing. The wife may have thought it was great but it the husband may not have liked the project, locations of gates, material used, height of the fence, etc. Without him there you never gave him an opportunity to voice any objections which you may have been able to overcome and ended up with the job. I NEVER give any pricing without having all the decision makers present then I deal with the objections and ask for the job. the wife said GREAT, the husband foind someone on his own, (remember she had never talked to him about your estimate), and obviously HE was the ultimate decision maker. Make sure EVERYONE is present. If not reset the appointment.

2. You ASSUMED. When we make assumptions we change our presentation, project, and pricing to conform to that assumption. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that we are right. Instead of ASSUMING how the customer feels and what they're thinking...JUST ASK! "What was your timeline for getting this fence up?" That way we get a better idea of the homeowner's fears and hurdles to moving forward.

3. The whole money factor was shaky which made you seem shaky. You have to be the authority. It's your company and your project. "We require a 10% deposit by check so that'd be $265 and I'd start Monday. I'll come by personally and discuss our agreement with your husband. When will he be home and what time should I come by?" This way you would have had a financial commitment to move forward, took away the responsibility of the wife to discuss it with the husband, had a chance to lock in the job with the husband, and created a sense that the job IS being done it's just a matter of informing the husband. If he balked at least you would have been standing in front of him to find out what the problem is while you have a contract and a deposit check in your hand.

So overall--

1. Have all decision makers present and in person before giving any pricing
2. Never make assumptions--ask questions!
3. Be the authority and take control of the situation


Good luck hunting!
 
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